Member, TCWS Board of Directors
What a great way to spend a lovely autumn afternoon, tasting and comparing Rhône-style wines at the Barnard Griffin Winery. The theme for the event was a comparison of Washington Rhône-style wines with French Southern Rhône wines. Randy Schreiner, the event co-chair, selected 6 excellent wines for us to compare. The wines were all blends of grape varieties originating in France’s Rhône Valley. The wines were divided into 3 flights of 2. Each flight was paired with a tasty small plate prepared by Barnard Griffin’s head chef and his cooking crew.
The first flight featured the Barnard Griffin 2014 Côtes du Rôb and from France, the Domaine de la Janasse 2015 Reserve Côtes-du-Rhône. Comparing these 2 wines, the first thing I noted was the much darker color of the Washington wine and its big fruit-driven profile. The French wine was more laid back with more delicate fruit, an interesting complexity and moderate tannins. Both wines paired well with the tomato, basil and caper bruschetta as well as the Cambozola cheese, honey and cracker pepper bruschetta.
The second flight presented a lovely wine from Walla Walla, the Forgeron Cellars 2014 Façon Rouge, and the Domaine du Pesquier 2015 Gigondas from France. These were nicely paired with 2 exotic elk and wild boar meatballs. Again, I noted the Washington wine had a deeper color than the French one. The Forgeron Cellars wine was full-bodied, well balanced and loaded with lots of berry fruit. The Gigondas was silky with flavors of cherry and blueberries and a long finish. It had a nice minerality and was another excellent wine.
The final flight offered a comparison of Syncline Winery’s 2015 Cuvée Elena from Washington and the Tour Saint Michel Cuvée du Lion 2015 Châteauneuf-duPape from France. This time the French wine had the darker color. The Syncline wine was well-balanced with nice berry fruit. The French pairing for this flight was cider-braised chicken with a chanterelle and black-grape cream sauce with crispy-fried Brussel sprouts.
Randy had a plethora of information on the wines, wine regions and grape varieties – all very interesting. He also had a small quiz with the winners getting a bottle of wine to take home. Yours truly won one! We ended the event with a decadent, yes, decadent, flourless chocolate cake! Members commented that they came because they liked the topic and the venue. I don’t believe anyone went away disappointed.
Thank you, Randy, for a great event!